Why don’t things work any more?

Look at all the things that don't work any more: Congress, which is failing to help the 9/11 fire fighters, the reverse mortgage industry, Lyft, which doesn't communicate with its customers, Medicare, which has insane charges and paybacks.

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SOURCENationofChange

What are things that don’t appear to work anymore?  Congress is surely one of them. Despite our admiration for first responders such as the firemen in the 9/11 horror, Congress doesn’t result in rewarding them in their time of need.  First responders did their job in seconds; but Congress has taken 18 years to come to their aid. “Jon Stewart gave Congress an earful on Tuesday, blasting a House Judiciary subcommittee for its seeming indifference towards the plight of 9/11 first responders as he testified on their behalf for the extension of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund.”  

Another thing is reverse mortgages. “These elderly homeowners were wooed into borrowing money through the special program by attractive sales pitches or a dire need for cash – or both. When they missed a paperwork deadline or fell behind on taxes or insurance, lenders moved swiftly to foreclose on the home. Those foreclosures wiped out hard-earned generational wealth built in the decades since the Fair Housing Act of 1968.

“Brokers desperate to replace income lost from the real estate crash with new commissions didn’t wait around for homeowners to come in seeking reverse mortgages, either. They went to where they knew people needed money and sometimes walked door-to-door, targeting houses with decaying roofs or leaky windows. Door hangers advertised a “tax-free” benefit for seniors.”

See the connection?  No? How about this one:  This is my most recent Medicare statement.  I had a procedure at La Peer Surgical Center.  It lasted about 45 minutes and required no surgery, just inspection of my bladder.  For this, La Peer charged $32,500. But Medicare only paid them $333.87 plus $66.77 from my secondary insurance.  That borders on insanity. Either La Peer is way off the mark or Medicare doesn’t pay reality.

Claim InformationAmount ChargedMedicare ApprovedYou May Be Billed
Claim Number:1119158562150Provider Name: EDWARD J FELDMANService Start Date: 06/04/2019$350.00$161.34$32.27
Claim Number:1119158724500Provider Name: WARREN S LINE JR.Service Start Date: 06/04/2019$300.00$300.00$60.00
Claim Number:1819158452410Provider Name: LA PEER SURGERY CENTER, LLCService Start Date: 06/03/2019$32,500.00$333.87$66.77
Claim Number:1819158350610Provider Name: ELTON J TOURJEService Start Date: 05/31/2019$743.00$54.89$10.98
Claim Number:1819155543700Provider Name: RAVI S PRASAD MDService Start Date: 05/31/2019$605.00$46.44$9.29

Dr. Warren Line saw me for about 15 minutes and charged $300.00 to clean my ears and put tubes in them.  He was paid exactly what he charged. For some reason, Medicare thought my insurance should pay him an extra $60.00.  More than he charged. Does that make sense?

My friend Phil Fullerton had this to say abut Medicare charges.  “I agree Mike. I saw the bill [for his Pacemaker] and it was $100,000. The insurance only paid $34,000 and I have had to pay nothing. But if I didn’t have the insurance protection, I would be in for the whole amount. Our medical world in the US has become a sort of wild monster that no one knows how to control.”

Medicare isn’t the only wild monster.  Try the IRS. Did you notice that you can call them but you can’t email them?  This appears to be a rule in many governmental agencies. They don’t want to give you an easy way to communicate.  Instead, you have to wait on an interminable phone line, while the IRS robot apologizes over and over for making you wait.  So it’s very hard to give them a message and be sure that they get it. On the other hand, they are a whole lot better than Lyft, the alternative taxi program.  “Let’s get this out of the way now: There is no direct phone number for Lyft. That is, you can’t call Lyft using your phone. They can call you, however, provided you give them your number. If you’re experiencing one of the three scenarios we discussed in the previous section, then your first step should be to visit this pageReport an accident, safety incident, or citation. “

Lyft is so secretive that it really doesn’t want communication at all.  They want you to use their app to call for a ride, and after that they don’t want to hear from you.

One time I called them for a ride.  And then seconds later the doctor’s office upstairs called for me to come back.  I tried to cancel the ride as I I fumbled with my iPhone in the elevator, but no such luck.  Lyft docked me $5 for the ride I didn’t take.

I’ve had my other run-ins with Lyft.  I got in an email conversation with Lyft, in which Sam wrote to me:

“Thanks for reaching out about your ride needs. I’m very sorry to hear of the trouble you’ve had calling a Lyft. I’m happy to provide some insight for you. 

“In order to request a ride, you’ll need to do so through the Lyft Rider app. Looks like your most recent download is out of date, which could explain the issues you’ve been having. I would recommend uninstalling then reinstalling the Lyft Rider app. This will ensure you’re using the most up to date version.

“I hope this helps to take care of these issues for you. If you continue to experience issues, Michael, please let us know. 

“All the best,

“Sam”

I wrote back as follows: “The app. worked today.  But there’s a need to allow people in a jam call Lyft and get service by telephone.  Why not, for Heaven’s Sake? If the person has an account at Lyft, Lyft will know it.  Hey, if the person has never had an account but has a Visa card, that should be enough.  Businesses all over take cards over the phone, because they can check the card on the computer!  So why not be helpful to your clients?  Don’t hide! Don’t be secretive!

Michael Hertz”

Sam replied:

“Hey Michael, 

“Thanks for staying in touch, I totally get where you’re coming from. We know how difficult it can be to get in a bind and need a ride, and sometimes our devices aren’t reliable enough to get us there. 

“As our platform operates online and using features such as GPS to match riders and drivers, we are unable to offer rides outside the app. I’m very sorry for any inconvenience this has caused you. If you have any other questions please let us know. 

“All the best,

“Sam –“ 

To which I said: “What you say is bullshit.  I’m quite sure that people in your office have a map and can track your drivers.  You know where they are.  If a rider calls in and tells you his location, surely you can pick a driver and call him yourself.  I’m not saying there wouldn’t be difficulties.  But I know that you can call the drivers (and the driver can call you).  In these days of instant communication, none of this is impossible.

“Michael Hertz”

The next communication I got from Lyft was when I tried to call a ride, and they told me that my account had been terminated.  Then a few days later, I tried again, and the account worked, but they jacked up the prices of the rides. How do I know? Before our clash, they were always $5 or more less than Uber.  But afterwards they were always $10 more than Uber. What I need to do is have someone else price the same rides as I did. I’ll bet they are really different from the ones quoted to me.

Why Can’t The Government Talk Straight About Climate Change?  If you listened to Trump, you’re believe that fossil fuels are doing nothing to the planet.  You’d believe that there are no problems with water. But if you read the alternative media, you’d figure that humanity is going to die off in 31 years.  

Why all this confusion?  Why doesn’t anyone tell the truth any more?  There’s one answer to every question, and that is money.  Follow the money, and you’ll always find the answer. You may think that the answer is stupid, and it usually is, but money is the answer.  The salvation of humanity is getting rid of money as the measure of achievement. Do it now, before we all die.

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